Water makes up about 2/3 of our bodyweight. Bone contains 22% water, fat tisuues contain about 25% water and muscle contains about 75% water. Water is important! It's:
a temperature regulator
a mineral source
We lose water just by breathing, and when we exercise we lose water at a faster rate. In hot climates and during intense exercise sweat loss can be significant. Just a 0.5% body water loss increases the strain on your heart. 1% reduces aerobic endurance. 3% reduces muscular endurance. 4% reduces muscle strength, motor skills and induces heat cramps. 5% reduces mental capacity and results in cramping and fatigue. 6% really takes you over the edge with physical exhaustion. heat stroke and potential coma. 10 - 20% loss will kill you. Obviously that's not going to happen to you!
However staying well hydrated can help you have more energy, help you concentrate and help you lose fat. Your body is a smoother machine when it's hydrated. Don't forget the positive effects on the health of your skin.
How much water? For the average person good rule of thumb is divide your weight in pounds in half and this is your water in ozs. Remember 1 cup is 8 ozs. So a 130 lb person will need about 65 ozs or 8 cups.
Caffeinated beverages do still contribute to hydration despite their mild diuretic effect. And caffeine is a stimulant which has beneficial properties such as boosting mental and physical perfomance. Alcohol however does not - it dehydrates very quickly. So don't think you're getting your hydration on when you're sipping on margaritas. Fruits and vegetables are water dense while fats are low. BUT the best source of water is water itself. I like to drink half my weight in water and then anything else is bonus. Because I exercise fairly heavily I tack on a few more cups/day. The days I exercise I don't have to think much about it as my thirst mechanism is strong on those days. Non-exercise days are more challenging. How about you?
Finally (for Kyleigh and the rest of us) because water is such a precious resource we all need to take a good look at the future. Our water supplies around the world are being contaminated. This will have far reaching consequences on our health. Water may be a free commodity now but I suspect that we'll have to pay for clean water in the years to come.
A pretty scary article - http://www.healthynewage.com/water-contamination.htm
And things we can do to protect the supply - http://www.wdhopperwaterwells.com/protecting_our_water.php